Who predicted that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would have a 7-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio at the end of his first three games back from a severe elbow injury, which required surgery a year ago to reattach three tendons in his throwing arm?
What’s more, he is completing 67 percent of his passes, which is tied for the fourth-highest completion percentage of his career, and averaging about 260 passing yards per game. His yards per attempt can perk up still from 7.1, which is on the low side, though his adjusted yards per attempt is a healthy 8.0.
Given the injury that he is coming back from, it’s hard to complain about what we have seen from Roethlisberger so far in 2020, especially, in my opinion, in light of how hard he is being on himself. He told reporters after last week’s game that he’ll let people know when he feels like he’s actually played a good game, even as they average 26 points per game on offense.
Art Rooney II is the one who signs off on his checks, and he is pleased with what he has seen from Roethlisberger, though, so he needs no other endorsement. “All things considered, it’s pretty amazing when you think about the kind of surgery that he had”, he said during an interview on the DVE Morning Show.
“To be honest with you, he kept saying he felt his arm was stronger, and I didn’t really believe him when he started saying that, but I think it may be true”, he added. “It’s really remarkable, the arm strength that he has. And he’s still knocking off some rust, too, now, and I think he’ll continue to get better like everybody else as the season goes on”.
One area in which Roethlisberger definitely can stand to see improvement is in getting the ball down the field, particularly in the deep (20-plus) passing attempts. In the intermediate range (10-19 yards), he has completed 12 of 16 attempts for 169 yards and three touchdowns, averaging more than 10 yards per attempt and completing 75 percent of his passes.
On deep passes, however, he has only completed three of 14 attempts for 140 yards, with 84 of those yards coming on one pass to Chase Claypool, which was the best throw he has made this season. Two of his three deep completions have been to Claypool, the other completion being one of the most improbable completions of the year so far, a 28-yarder in the opener at the right sideline.
For completion’s sake (no pun intended), Roethlisberger has completed 45 passes on 56 attempts between 0-9 yards, for 424 yards and two touchdowns. When throwing behind the line of scrimmage, he is 13-for-17 for 44 yards—a clear sign of how relatively poor the screen game has been this year.